Porsche leads the charge in synthetic fuel production
With the electric car revolution showing no signs of slowing, it would seem that combustion engine cars are surely doomed. However, recent news of synthetic fuel has got many motorists wondering if the age of combustion engines isn’t quite over.
With Volvo recently announcing their plans to go electric-only in the near future, with other manufacturers such as Jaguar and Jeep previously announcing similar goals, the march towards electric and hybrid cars is fully in motion. Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles haven’t successfully taken off, diesel vehicles have been punished despite polluting less CO2 and petrol vehicles will likely be labelled as ‘spawn of the devil’ by 2030.
And now, Porsche has brought synthetic fuels to the attention of the world once again.
Although it’s certainly not a new concept, synthetic fuel has recently made news thanks to Porsche’s bold advancements in the production of said fuel. Described as a ‘huge investment’ in a ‘global effort to reduce the CO2 impact of the transportation sector’ Porsche are exploring ways to keep petrol cars viable without harming the environment.
Porsche have announced that their synthetic fuel will begin trials in 2022 in ‘very, very small volume’. A pilot plant has been built in the south of Chile which uses the strong winds to generate power from wind turbines and is set to begin the production of synthetic fuel, or e-fuel, in 2022.
Starting with a small quantity of e-fuel produced in 2022, production will then be scaled up to 55 million litres of e-fuel by 2024 with plans to then scale up to 550 million litres by 2026, if all goes according to plan. To put it into perspective, the UK alone consumes around 46 billion litres of petrol and diesel each year so 550 million litres is certainly a good start but not enough to make a large impact.
“Their advantages lie in their ease of application: e-fuels can be used in combustion engines and plug-in hybrids, and can make use of the existing network of filling stations.” – Porsche CEO Oliver Blume Head of Porsche Motorsport, Frank Walliser AKA ‘Mr 911’, outlined the benefits: “Synthetic fuels have around 8-10 components, where today’s fuels have between 30 and 40. As it’s an artificial, synthetic fuel, you have no by-products, so it’s way cleaner – everything positive for the engine.
While e-fuels may not be the replacement for electric batteries in passenger cars, it could be the fuel method to replace petrol in aircraft, ships, heavy goods and construction vehicles as batteries are not suitable for these types of vehicles.
Furthermore, e-fuels are only ‘environmentally-friendly’ if they are produced in an environmentally-friendly way. If the production plant is burning fuel to create the e-fuel then it can totally defeat the purpose and the installation of things like wind turbines is expensive, thus driving up the price of the e-fuel making it less viable, so it seems we still have many things to work out.
Let us know what you think about e-fuels, in the comments!
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